I was down at Farlington again this morning, to check the cattle, of which more later, and meet with Dave to discuss management over the next few months. I arrived early and had the best of the day as it was sunny initially and even fairly warm. Certainly warm enough for brown butterflies to be out, they are always keen to fly and their dark colouration means they warm up quickly in any sunshine that is going. In fact they often run the risk of getting too warm which is why they rather rarely bask with open wings like other species. However today was not that warm so they were trying to catch all the rays that were available.
As well as meadow brown there were also lots of small heath about and a few small white. These were in the Bushes area, often a good place for small migrant birds at this time of year, but today it was fairly quiet. It was not only the butterflies that enjoy a little sunshine, I came across 2 magpie sat in a hawthorn, both were rather tatty birds in very active moult.
I also had to take some pictures of the old WW2 blockhouses for a possible small feature on the BBC “Coast” show, they want to see what there is to see and if it is worth coming here to do filming. I was also asked if I knew of anybody who had known them during their active period during the war, I do not, but do you? The east wall blockhouse is a very good vantage point for my cattle counts, as it is one of the few places that give a view of almost the whole Main Marsh.
Later in the morning I walked right around the reserve to look at up-coming tasks, although I will not be doing most of them as I am shortly to move on, I will be sorry to leave this fabulous place. It is not just the Marsh itself but the surrounding Harbour that give it such a special character. The whole is a remarkable survivor in the midst of increasing development and a truly amazing, world-class wildlife area, not half way across the world and seen only on television, but on the doorstep of tens of thousands in one of Europe’s most densely populated urban centres.
Having counted the cattle the grazier arrived and sorted a lot of them out and moved them into other fields as a preliminary step to moving some off site altogether, autumn is here and soon the cattle will be gone, replaced by brent geese.
On the walk round we saw a few birds on the Lake, including a juvenile curlew sandpiper and 11 pintail, along the Stream spotted redshank and little ringed plover, both also juveniles. There were few small migrants apart from at least 6 or so chiffchaff in the Point Field. I had a few whinchat and wheatear reported to me and out in the Harbour an osprey. As I arrived first thing, when the wind was less, 12 bearded tit were high-flying over the reeds near the Building, something they do as a precursor to heading off to look for new reedbeds.